Friday, January 30, 2009

How Long Must We Sing This Song?

37 years ago today, 27 unarmed civil rights demonstrators in Derry were massacred by British soldiers. The Brits are still investigating.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

They Just Don't Learn

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota lawmakers will have an abortion-related bill to debate this session.
The legislation, SB92, would require abortion doctors to be at the clinic the day before the procedure to provide consultation, even if the woman doesn't want it, refuses to acknowledge the consultation or has no intention of showing up for it.
Republican state Rep. Roger Hunt of Brandon, a staunch abortion foe, is one of the sponsors of the legislation, which was assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee for a hearing.
South Dakota voters have defeated proposed abortion bans the past two general elections.


Pierre Stays Perfect

By Josh Linehan
Capital Journal Staff

PIERRE — Through 11 games, the Pierre Lady Govs still sport an umblemished record.
But here’s the scary part for teams who still have to play Pierre this season: They might be only now hitting their stride.
The Lady Govs used stifling defense and a balanced offense to take all the drama out of a showdown of unbeaten teams Tuesday night, cruising to a 51-29 win over the Brandon Valley Lynx.
"That was a very nice night," Pierre coach Lisa Kannegieter said. "That’s probably the best full game we’ve played all year. We put four quarters together."
The Lynx entered the game unbeaten and ranked third in the state. But the Lady Govs held Brandon Valley scoreless for nearly five minutes to open the game, staking themselves to a lead they would never relinquish.
The game also featured a milestone for Pierre guard Steph Paluch, who scored her 1,000th career point on a three-point play in the third quarter.
Paluch, who led all scorers with 19 points, stole the ball near midcourt and blew past two Lynx defenders for a layup and 1,000 points even. After the Riggs Gym crowd gave her a standing ovation, she sank the free throw to give Pierre a 43-25 lead.
Her 1,001 points put Paluch second in Lady Govs history, 29 points behind the 1030 Karen Hasek scored from 1981-83.
"Steph is a very unselfish player, and as much as she passes the ball, it’s amazing that she hit 1000 at this point in the year," Kannegieter said.
Paluch finished 7-12 from the floor and added six rebounds and two assists.
"It hasn’t really sunk in yet, I’m just kind of excited that we won this game," Paluch said.
While Paluch was reaching a milestone at one end of the floor, the Lady Govs were owning the other end. Pierre held Brandon Valley under 10 points in every quarter. Katie Lingle led the way with seven blocked shots — and at least as many altered.
The Lady Govs also hounded the Lynx into 22 turnovers en route to the win.
"I would have to say that was our best defensive game," Paluch said. "We put a lot of pressure on them and forced a lot of bad shots."
The lone down spot for the Lady Govs was inbounding the ball. Pierre was whistled twice for five seconds on inbounds plays and turned the ball over another two times.
Lingle scored 10 points for Pierre, follwed by Alexa Berg with eight. Tristan Rogers, Linsey Peterson and Amanda Stout had four each and Amber Olson had two as the Lady Govs got all 10 players into the game and Pierre looked exactly like a team that has won its first 11 games.
"Our kids played their hearts out tonight," Kannegieter said. "The quote I heard in the locker room was, ‘We just played,’ and that’s what we’ve been trying to get them to do, just play."
Pierre gets back in action Friday night when the Lady Govs travel to Spearfish to take on the Spartans.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ugly Score Leads To Uglier Situation

By now, you’ve probably heard the story.
A girls basketball team in Dallas beat another girls basketball team 100-0 earlier this month.
The winning team was up 59-0 at halftime, and continued to press full court and jack up 3-pointers until they hit the 100-point mark with about four minutes to go.
But the story doesn’t end there.
Officials from the Covenant School — the winners — apologized and offered to forfeit the game to the poor team from Dallas Academy. Dallas Academy, it turns out, is a school for children with learning disabilities such as dyslexia, and hadn’t won a game in almost four years.
Covenant’s coach publicly disagreed with the school officials, and was soon fired, leading to Covenant canceling the rest of the girls basketball season.
Now, of course, with the story all over the internet, people are piling on the victors just as shamelessly as those victors piled on Dallas Academy.
But the whole sad saga does raise an interesting question: What, exactly, constitutes running up the score? What obligation does a clearly superior team have to an inferior opponent? And, conversely, what obligation does a weak team have to at least be able to compete at the level for which they register?
I fear that the definitive answer to this question might be like the Supreme Court’s definition of pornography — you can’t define it, but you know it when you see it.
Still, I do think that intent matters.
What got me about the original story — and, I suspect, what got the Covenant coach fired — was reading the Covenant girls were up 59-0 at the break and continued to press into the fourth quarter. There’s no place for that.
As a former coach, I do feel somewhat for both coaches in this situation. I’ve been on both ends of these blowout games, and there’s no perfect solution. And scores alone don’t always tell the tale.
Stanley County’s girls, for instance, were on the winning side of a mismatch earlier this season. The Lady Buffs downed McLaughlin on Jan. 8, 99-15. I only caught the first half of that game, but I didn’t see Stanley County looking to run up the score. They certainly weren’t pressing full court up by 60.
Some friends of mine who are coaches or sportswriting colleagues would argue that, at the varsity level, it’s not the job of a coach to stop his own team. I am sympathetic to this point. When you’re the coach of a clearly superior team, it isn’t your job to stop your own kids.
And when you’re the coach of a team that isn’t likely to win a game all year, it isn’t your job to win basketball games, either. It’s your job to try and teach the kids who are willing to tough out a rough season that playing the game can be its own reward. And it’s your responsibility to stay upbeat and positive and find successes to celebrate.
I don’t want to pile on the coach from Covenant. He probably didn’t go into the game with any kind of malice in his heart. But, still, in pushing forward as hard as he could until the score was 100-0, he accomplished nothing but the sporting equivalent of beating up on the littlest kid on the playground.
I remember playing pickup hockey games on the outdoor rink when I was a kid. We’d pick teams by throwing our sticks in a pile at center ice. One of us would then dutifully get on his knees, pull his stocking hat down over his eyes and throw sticks toward each end.
We’d play for a while. And, if the game was one-sided, inevitably, someone would stop the game and we’d shuffle a player here or there to even things out. And then we’d play on.
So, no, it isn’t a coach’s job to stop his or her own team from scoring.
But it certainly is a coach’s responsibility not to short-circuit what kids everywhere know when there isn’t an adult to be found — on the bench or in the stands.
If you lose sight of that, maybe it’s time to find something else to do.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

When They Come To Write Our Obit

Let them write that newspapers died when people who were supposed to be running newspapers started writing like PR hairdos and HR hacks.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Huron 7, Pierre 2

It was closer than that. Tied 2-2 with 2 to play in the 2nd.

Huron flurry for 2 quick ones at the end of the period sent them on to the win.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

In Response To Right-Wing Nuttery

I say this, earlier today:

Well, after Tuesday no more Bush to bitch and whine about. No more voting "present." Time to make decisions. The One will actually be the one now. God help us all.

Allow me to retort:

Gosh, if he's not careful, this country could really get off track.

We could end up in the wrong war, the economy could go in the shitter, natural disasters could claim entire American cities without an appropriate government response. Children could be left behind, we could start torturing prisoners. Our entire standing as a benevolent superpower could go by the wayside. The justice department could be purged of competent prosecutors in favor of incompetent lackeys. Ditto the rest of the federal agencies. Our intelligence operations could become completely fucking useless. The vice president could take advantage of his stunning weakness within his own government and run a shadow presidency while claiming to belong to no branch of government, effectively shredding the seperation of powers to any practical purpose. He could appoint a crazy man to head the Pentagon. We could open illegal prison camps in several far-flung nations. War could erupt in the Middle East and we could stand idly by. Years of genocide could go by in Africa without any reaction from America. Unemployment levels could climb dangerously high. States could teeter on the brink of bankruptcy. Our health care system could completely break down, and the President could do nothing about it. He could try and privatize Social Security, to be immediately followed by a massive stock market collapse. Greed and corruption could become so brazen that bagmen wander the corridors of power in DC with impunity. Oil executives could bribe the administration in the open, then just pretend it didn't happen. He could pretend that stem cell research and a comatose woman in Florida are the great moral issues of our time, while all of these other things are going on.

I mean, Obama could really fuck shit up.

What's that? Really? All of it?

Never mind.

Soccer Still Not Scoring

By Josh Linehan
Capital Journal Staff

PIERRE — The implementation of soccer as a school-sponsored sport will continue to be delayed in South Dakota following a meeting of the South Dakota High School Activities Association on Wednesday.
South Dakota high schools were originally scheduled to begin playing soccer as a school sport in the 2010-11 school year. That process was delayed at the last SDHSAA meeting based on a request from the Eastern South Dakota and Greater Dakota conferences, which comprise most of the AA schools in the state.
South Dakota is the only state left in the nation that does not sanction soccer as a school sport.
Wednesday, the board took no further action on the motion to delay implementation and instead gave first reading to a motion to appoint an ad hoc implementation committee to be appointed by the SDHSAA executive committee with a mandate to hash out some of the funding, budgeting, scheduling and compliance concerns.
The motion passed 8-0.
"It was about what we expected," SDHSAA executive director Wayne Carney said. "The board took a cautious approach. That’s what we heard from the member schools and we responded accordingly."
Board member Terry Nebelsick, also principal at Huron High School, made the motion to form a committee comprised of superintendents, principals, athletic directors and coaches, along with non-voting members from the South Dakota Soccer Association, the governing body which currently oversees club and school-affiliated soccer in South Dakota.
Nebelsick said while he understood the concerns about implementation, he was looking for the SDHSAA to eventually adopt soccer as a school sport.
"I get very, very nervous at hearing the viewpoint that club level soccer is fine as it is," Nebelsick said. "At some point, I think, that argument gets turned around, and people say ‘If club sports are fine, what is the role of the activities association?’"
The new committee will present its’ findings to the board at a meeting in August, the earliest a start date for soccer as a school sport could be announced.
Carney said the formation of the committee didn’t make it impossible for soccer to still begin in the 2010-11 school year, but he did not expect it would.
"The board left that wide open," Carney said, noting the motion asked the ad hoc committee to report back to the board annually at the August meeting. "We’re certainly not ready to take a guess on that from our spot here."
A SDHSAA survey of schools showed about 15 schools who were set to add soccer in 2010-11, along with 15 who were considering the move, executive board member Bob Lowery said at the meeting. But that number was likely diminished after the concerns were brought forward by the ESD and GDC.
Activities directors from several schools spoke in favor of continuing toward making soccer a school sport in South Dakota, even with reservations about the current state of the economy and other concerns.At the end of preliminary discussions, board member Bob Sittig made a motion to postpone the implementation of soccer as a school sport indefinitely. But the motion was eventually withdrawn in favor of Nebelsick’s motion to form the new committee.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Plan Your Trip Now

Well, Bert got hosed again, but he's gaining ground.

As the story notes, most people who get the number of votes he's getting get in, eventually.

There are some dry years coming up, and I've got Blyleven penciled in for 2011.

Cooperstown, here I come!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bert Belongs, People

In the interest of transparency, many members of the Baseball Writer's Association now publish their Baseball Hall of Fame ballots. I think ESPN might even require its writers to do so.

So this site is tracking the published votes.

Right now, as expected, Rickey Henderson is a slam dunk.

Jim Rice is on the fringe, and this is his last chance.

Bert Blyleven is getting 70 percent of the vote. Players need 75 percent to be inducted.

The HOF case for Blyleven is pretty easy to make, and Rich Lederer has boiled it down to one sentence for everyone. So memorize this, text it to a friend, have a T-shirt made, whatever:

Since 1900, Bert Blyleven ranks 5th in career strikeouts, 8th in shutouts, and 17th in wins.

Had Blyleven pitched for better teams, he'd have been in years ago. Come on, baseball writers. You get most of these right, eventually. Do the right thing here. Quit making the guy wait. He belongs in the HOF.

And if you don't believe this blogger, there are plenty of people you can read.

Try all these folks, for instance:

Or one of my favorite writers and baseball guys (and one who also thinks, as I do, that Ron Gardenhire is the most underrated manager in baseball) Joe Posnanski of the Kansas City Star:

Govs Get In Win Column

By Josh Linehan
Capital Journal Staff
PIERRE -- The Pierre Governors got their first win of the season in comeback fashion Friday night, downing the Brookings Bobcats, 63-53. Pierre rallied from a 7-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win going away. Curry Kuehl led the way for the Govs, scoring 22 points.
Brookings was led by senior Brayden Carlson, who scored a game-high 27 points, but also had a technical foul that gave Pierre three shots and the ball in the midst of their fourth-quarter rally. The Govs stay home through the weekend, playing host to Huron on Saturday night. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

Friday, January 9, 2009

That's Not A Typo


That was the final score last night in the Stanley County vs. McLaughlin girls basketball game in Fort Pierre.


Now, someone tell me, which is more odd: That final score, or the fact that the teams' nicknames are the Lady Buffaloes and the Midgets, respectively.

God, I love South Dakota.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A sad, sad story

Minnesota Daily, my college rag, to stop publishing Fridays.

Does kind of ruin the name.

Newspapers are the kid in the boxing match during the last episode of season three of The Wire.

We're getting the crap kicked out of us. Heart-wise, we're doing good.

Alas, season four of The Wire doesn't bode well, for the boxing kid or the newspaper.

Maybe we can get Cutty to write a column?

New Pierre Legion Coach Named

PIERRE — The Post 8 Legion baseball team has a new coach.
Bob Sullivan, an assistant wrestling coach at Riggs High School and last year’s split-squad Teener baseball coach, will take the Legion baseball reins. "I’m definitely excited. I hope we can get Pierre into the upper tier of South Dakota Legion baseball this season," Sullivan said.
The hiring was finalized at a baseball board meeting Monday night.
Sullivan said he applied for the position in November and interviewed in December.
"Like with any new position, it’s a little overwhelming, but I’m really looking forward to it," Sullivan said.
Sullivan replaces Bill Ellwanger, who served one season as Legion coach after replacing longtime Legion coach Jim Iversen.
Now in his second season as an assistant wrestling coach, Sullivan was also a volunteer Legion assistant coach two seasons ago.
A native of Mitchell, Sullivan played Legion ball there and was part of a state championship team before playing four years of baseball at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.
Sullivan teaches physical education and health at Georgia Morse Middle School in Pierre, in addition to his coaching duties.
Longtime assistant coach Bill Gayton was also named Teener split squad coach. Gayton has served as an assistant coach within the program for the past 3 seasons.
He also was the "A" Teener head coach for Pierre in 2003 and 2004.
Sullivan said Post 8’s prospects for the upcoming season should be good.
"We should have a good group of returning players and a pretty good group moving up from Teeners, so we’ll just need to be able to put that all together, and get things to gel" he said.
Sullivan also said that he was working on putting together the Post 8 schedule for the season, and said Pierre would open with its traditional games against Rapid City Post 22 over Memorial Day weekend.The other two Teener coaches and an assistant Legion coach have yet to be named by the Post 8 baseball board.